When COVID-19 hit in March, there was a lot of fast movement by IT teams to get employees working productively from home. Most people felt like the following few weeks would be a very challenging time. But then weeks out of the office started to look more like months and then quarters, and the focus changed. The challenge wasn’t how to help employees get work done from home for a few weeks – it was how to run a business with remote employees.
The great news is that employee productivity hasn’t taken the dive that many feared. A study by BCG in late Spring found that 75% of remote workers have felt productive on individual tasks, and 51% have felt productive when performing collective work. Company leaders think it’s gone well enough that 82% of surveyed company leaders in early June expect to allow employees to work remotely at least some of the time after they return to work.
But there’s a big difference between completing tasks productively and being a critical member of the team. Many of the people who have been lucky enough to work from home during this pandemic are knowledge workers. The contribution of a knowledge worker can’t be measured solely by the number of tasks they complete each day.
For example, you don’t hire a managed service provider to work your tickets – you hire them to solve your problems. The teams who can solve your problems the fastest work together every day to share knowledge about your network and how your employees use it. They educate each other on changes in their own areas of technical expertise. For that information to flow freely, team members have to know, trust and enjoy each other.
Culture is a major productivity driver – and it’s difficult to maintain a positive company culture working remotely. It’s even harder to bring new employees into that positive culture. We’ve known that maintaining a strong and positive work culture would be one of the most difficult things to achieve with many so many staff members working remotely, so we’ve put some serious thought into it. Here are a few of the things we’ve done to keep our employees connected.
Employees have been encouraged to meet one-on-one (either via video chat or socially distanced in person) for a few minutes outside of work hours to catch up with what’s happening in each other’s lives, or to chat with a new employee they haven’t yet had a chance to meet in the office. Those who meet with at least five people this way are recognized on the company Slack channel or during monthly meetings.
We have weekly lunch video chats on different topics, and anyone in the company is invited to join. Topics have included virtual schooling, fitness, and destinations for weekend travel. In addition to getting employees together for conversations that aren’t work related, it’s also a great way for people to share advice on making socially-distanced days more enjoyable.
We’ve recently started some socially-distanced events, including outdoor movie night and an upcoming Halloween Trunk-or-Treat. While companies need to make sure these events stay safe for employees and their families, they’re a rare opportunity to bring employees together to enjoy time together.
The next time you have a conversation on employee productivity, don’t forget to consider the intangible benefits that come from a strong, positive culture. See if you can include some events to bolster employee interaction – and if you come up with some great ones, we’d love to hear about them!
To learn how WingSwept can help keep your employees happy and ensure your network supports them (even when they’ve working from home!) call us at 919-460-7011 or email us at Team_WingSwept@WingSwept.com